04/23/2007 12:00AM

Keeneland: Audacious Chloe by a neck


In her first start since upsetting champion 2-year-old filly Dreaming of Anna in the Feb. 25 Gaily Gaily at Gulfstream, Audacious Chloe won the $115,700 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland by a neck over Classic Neel.

Audacious Chloe looked like a winner shortly after the start, when several fillies who were expected to show speed did not. This allowed John Velazquez aboard Audacious Chloe to make the front and establish a slow pace under limited early pressure.

Setting fractions of 24.57 seconds, 48.87, and 1:13.61 in the one-mile Appalachian, she had plenty left in reserve coming into the stretch, and it showed in her finish. She turned back a stretch bid from the eventual third-place finisher, Red Birkin, then outlasted a strong-finishing Classic Neel in the closing yards.

The runner-up performed well in defeat. Fourth early, she finished bravely up the inside of Audacious Chloe late, checking in a neck ahead of Red Birkin

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Audacious Chloe completed a mile over a firm course in 1:36.39, paying $4.40 as the favorite.

The winner, a 3-year-old daughter of More Than Ready owned by Team Valor Stables and Never Tell Farm, recorded her fourth victory in seven starts.